When it comes to the world of football, there is any number of incredible goals that can be celebrated. But it seems as if there are also as many controversial goals as there are excellent goals. If wanting to travel down that road of controversy, it need not be looked any further than the infamous Hand of God goal, scored by the legendary Diego Maradona in 1986.
Even mentioning the goal can cause arguments and heated debates, so deeply controversial is the Hand of God. But, of course, even Maradona himself came forward, many years after the moment occurred, to admit that it was an illegal goal. Or did he?
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
The Moment Under A Microscope
If you haven’t seen the Hand of God video, take a look at it now. You will, of course, immediately be struck by the plain truth that it is impossible to tell exactly what happened in the stadium. The only footage available is extremely low quality, in comparison to today’s technology, and there are literally only a few frames to work with.
Did the ball hit Maradona’s hand, or his head, before flying into the goals? If anyone says they can make a certain decision, based on the 1986 footage, they are probably stretching the truth a little.
On the other hand, if you pay less attention to the goal itself, and focus instead on the English football team, you will perhaps get a better idea of what happened. Immediately after the goal, virtually every member of the English football team begins to protest, touching their arm. They, it seems, all think that the ball came off Maradona’s arm, not his head.
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The goal was allowed, and the moment lived on in infamy in a sport that’s one of the world’s most popular. It was made significantly more infamous by Maradona himself, who stated, after being asked about the goal, stated that the goal was ‘a little with his head, and a little with the hand of God.’
Later, a photo emerged from photographer Alejandro Ojeda Carbajal, which apparently shows Maradona using his hand. However, even the photograph itself is hardly conclusive.
However, on numerous occasions after the incident, Maradona himself would vaguely admit that the goal was illegal. In his autobiography he plainly states that he can say now what he couldn’t at the time, that ‘it wasn’t the hand of God, it was the hand of Diego!’
Too Late For Apologies
In 2005, 19 years after the Hand of God match, Maradona stated plainly on a show called La Noche del 10 that the goal was illegal. In response to this, Peter Shilton, the referee in 1986, declared that it was far too late for an apology.
Regardless of the Hand Of God goal, and any who remain upset about the incident so many years later, it is perhaps better to remember that, in the same match, Maradona scored a second goal, and it was referred to as the Goal Of The Century.
Which of these goals should be more firmly remembered decades later? The controversial one, or perhaps the single best goal that has ever been seen?